AboutZoos, Since 2008


Assess­ment of con­flicts between Amur tigers and humans in the Russ­ian Far East

pub­lished 24 June 2011 | mod­i­fied 31 March 2011

The results of the Tiger Response Team (TRT) efforts between 2000 and 2009 in the Russ­ian Far East has been exam­ined by a team of researchers led by John Goodrich. The TRT has been estab­lished in 1999 by Inspec­tion Tiger (Min­istry for Nat­ural Resources, Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion) with the goal of reduc­ing threats and per­ceived threats caused by tigers to humans, and reduc­ing tiger mor­tal­ity asso­ci­ated with human-​tiger con­flict. So far, Rus­sia is the first coun­try ever with a gov­ern­ment team ded­i­cated to respond to human-​tiger conflicts.

The researchers exam­ined data of 202 human-​Amur tiger (Pan­thera tigris altaica) con­flicts. They saw that the num­ber of attacks on humans, dogs and domes­tic live­stock were high­est in win­ter. Tiger depre­da­tion on domes­tic ani­mals was the most com­mon type of con­flict reported (57%), with the high­est death rate for dogs, prob­a­bly because live­stock is well man­aged and pro­tected. The least com­mon were tiger attacks on humans (9%). Nine­teen attacks on humans were recorded result­ing in 11 injuries and 2 deaths.

To achieve the goal of reduc­ing the tiger threat TRT kills the pre­dat­ing tigers or removes them from area, which is dif­fer­ent from before 1999 when only inter­ven­tion by bul­let resolved a tiger prob­lem. It appeared that all but 1 of 20 tigers that were killed or removed from the wild by the TRT were con­sid­ered unfit to sur­vive in the wild. The attacks on humans were most often (77%) by wounded tigers, with 80% of the tiger’s injuries caused by humans. Fur­ther­more, 47% of the attacks were pro­voked. It was reported that occa­sion­ally a tiger may come into a vil­lage seek­ing foor because it is injured and unable to hunt. Med­ical care and reha­bil­i­ta­tion can allow tigers to return to the wild, which is of utmost impor­tance for this endan­gered species, esti­mated pop­u­la­tion in the wild: 349415.

The effec­tive­ness of TRT’s inter­ven­tions regard­ing the reduc­tion of depre­da­tion on domes­tic ani­mals was unclear, but the removal of injured and other unhealthy tigers from the wild by the TRT resulted in fewer human deaths. The inves­ti­gat­ing team rec­om­mend that the TRT con­tin­ues their work to reduce con­flict by rapidly remov­ing debil­i­tated tigers from the wild, to explore dif­fer­ent meth­ods and tech­nolo­gies for reduc­ing depre­da­tion on domes­tic ani­mals. In addi­tion the TRT should increase their efforts to main­tain tigers in the wild through teleme­try mon­i­tor­ing, translo­ca­tion, and reha­bil­i­ta­tion of orphaned cubs. This should not be restricted to the Amur area only, but con­ducted across tiger land­scapes in Asia to allow rapid assess­ment of interventions.

(Source: BBC Earth News, 24.12.2010; Bio­log­i­cal Con­ser­va­tion, Jan­u­ary 2011)

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